FREDERICTON – NB Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton South David Coon has been hearing concerns from New Brunswickers about their mental health as the lockdown takes hold – a stark reminder that the provincial government has been slow to implement its commitments from the mental health and addictions strategy it announced last year.
“Last February, the government committed to opening 13 mental health walk-in clinics around the province based on the successful pilot project in Campbellton,” said Coon. “And they committed to adding addiction and mental health resources to address increased demand for services resulting from COVID-19. These are needed now.”
It has been over two years since the Legislature unanimously adopted a motion to create a mental health advocate for the Province, but no one has been appointed. And almost a year has gone by since the circumstances surrounding Lexi Daken’s suicide exposed gaping holes in emergency mental health care services, but the ensuing recommendations remain largely unimplemented.
“The Premier often talks of living with COVID-19, so his upcoming budget must support a properly funded healthcare system so we can live with COVID-19 and the restrictions it imposes on our lives,” said Coon. “Neither medical nor mental health services should fall by the wayside during a pandemic, but that is precisely what is happening.”
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